Taut, restrained and handsome. These words come to mind when describing the E38 platform 7-series, perhaps one of the most successful BMW designs in recent memory. In short wheelbase form with the M-Sport package, which adds sport seats, firmer suspension, shorter final drive, M-Parallel wheels, sport steering wheel and Shadowline trim, the conservatively styled executive express takes on a slightly more menacing look and feel. Owing to the marvel of depreciation, these cars can be had for a fraction of their original cost. While bargain-basement examples are tempting, they probably hide gremlins that will cost the asking price again to put right. Best to pay up front for a nice one, like this lovely looking example for sale in California.
The E38 7-series is perhaps the last classically handsome BMW. Its conservative, purposeful design has aged well and serves as poignant reminder of how things used to be, before the advent of Chris Bangle’s fussy futurism. Plutocratically expensive when new, today you can buy an early, high mileage, rough-around-the-edges example for a mere couple of grand. But the question is – would you want to? A $2k car that cost nearly $100k new is bound to be a ticking time bomb of wallet-rending catastrophe. To get a nice one you have to spend a little (but not too much) to get a lot (quite a lot, in fact). Around $10k will buy you a nicely sorted example – still not a lot of money, when you think about it – and just a smidge more will put you into a Sport model, like this one.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 740i Sport on eBay…
Earlier this week, our reader Craig altered us to a great condition, nice color and eye-catching 2001 740i M-Sport. Unfortunately, that example sold but I was able to source a replacement to remind us of why the E38 BMW is so great. Truth be told, in 2001 BMW faced some pretty stiff competition from Audi’s new kid on the block, as the 360 horsepower all-wheel drive S8 finally was delivered to the U.S. market. Low, mean, luxurious, capable and quick, the S8 is a package which few large sedans are able to match in terms of desirability. In fact, in my mind there’s only one potential match; the E38 BMW 7 series. A good looking sedan to start with, the rakish profile is accented by the fender bulges, but the thing I’ve always really loved is the headlight treatment. The continuation of the body lines past the intersection of the headlights leaves partially eclipsed beams reminiscent of the E28 European headlight treatment. Equipped with the M-Sport package, the E38 gets even more down to business with blacked out detail work and the awesome M-Parallel wheels really filling out the package: